Every 9th of May all member states of the European Union celebrate Europe Day. Romania celebrates it this time in a historical context. The centennial anniversary gives perspective from past to present. And exactly this very same day next year Romania will host an EU summit in Sibiu. This summit is of importance to all member states as it will focus on the future of the European Union.
Romania is in 2018 celebrating its centennial anniversary, and so did Finland last year. Celebrating the first 100 years as an independent country was for Finland about joy and togetherness. The Finnish people payed respect and felt gratefulness for the dedication of the former generations. The shared national vision had made the Finns join up efforts together for the common good of the nation. When the flag of Finland was hoisted among other European countries’ flags in 1917 it meant achieving long-dreamt freedom and self-determination. The following 100 years Finland continued building what is its present-day society based on its historic European values and connections.
Both Romania and Finland are geographically located in an area where history has witnessed tensions and borders have been placed and replaced between the west and the east. That is one of the main reasons both our countries value the EU membership so high, even though the path of events of our countries has been very different. An EU membership means that European values and cultural and civic platform of the European family are shared and, if necessary, also defended.
The centenary of independence is the most significant anniversary of this generation for both Romania and Finland. The unbroken period of 100 years as an independent European country deserved a special celebration last year for Finland. Our centennial year was built with the whole of society, bringing Finns and friends of Finland together in all continents. The slogan of the centennial, Together, reflected well the essence of the narrative of Finland.
Togetherness and joining up efforts for the common good has for Finland included also active cooperation with European and other foreign partners. Romanians celebrate their anniversary under the same slogan Finland did last year – Together. This similar mindset gives our EU-presidency cooperation the best possible platform.
Romania and Finland are right now preparing themselves to take over the consecutive rotating presidency of the European Union next year.
Our countries share the same goals as we both want to further develop the EU and to promote growth, stability and security in Europe.
Cooperation in preparing our consecutive EU presidency terms grows stronger during the forthcoming months. The years to come will be vital in terms of the development of the European Union. The well-being and success of the Union and its member states are linked with the capacity of cooperation of its member states. There Romania and Finland will play a key role at the helm of the EU presidency. Several challenging topics will be on the table during 2019. Finland will work together with Romania to achieve as successful presidency as possible.
In the middle of the centennial celebrations what matters a lot is of course the future. The perspectives of the EU will be discussed in a year’s time in Sibiu. Here again it is good to pay attention to the perception of the EU in the eyes of the younger generations. According to a survey published very recently among 18-29 years old Finns around 90% consider themselves also European and citizens of Europe. Hence for them it is already natural to combine the love for the homeland with European identity. In Romania, too, the support for the EU has kept high during all years of the membership.
All the very best for the Romanian people celebrating its centennial anniversary and preparing for its first ever EU presidency. Happy Europe Day!